Do you ever find yourself saying ‘I don’t have time for exercise’, ‘All my time is spent on the kids, I don’t have any time for me’, ‘There’s no chance I’ve got time for that’? Or perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have at work, burnt out or completely lacking energy and motivation? You’re not alone.
Juggling work, home and family life can be tricky and sometimes the best answer we can come up with is just `to stop it all. But that might not always be realistic, nor is it always necessary. Time is not an object and we don’t run out of it, but we can learn to manage it. Through proper time management, not only are we able to take better care of ourselves, both physically and mentally, but we can also soon start to feel more confident, happier and healthier.
Poor time management is dangerous, it can lead to a whole host of problems in your organisation:
• You and your employees consistently working overtime;
• Pushing client deadlines back – making you look unprofessional and making them feel unimportant;
• Missing out on lunch breaks – your body isn’t given the time to rest and recuperate.
• Running you and your employees into the ground and missing out on opportunities to enjoy life.
It is here you are entering burnout territory. Job performance, mental and physical health and relationships with others will suffer. However, according to Brian Tracy: ‘…every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours in wasted time and diffuse effort throughout your day’1. Taking time at the end of your day, week and month to plan to manage your time effectively has changed people’s lives.
We have come up with 10 top tips to help you manage your time…
1. Organise meetings earlier on in the day when you’re fresh.
2. You can only focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking ruins your focus and limits your productivity. Don’t switch between work projects, Facebook, personal emails and work emails: ‘After an Internet interruption, it takes about seventeen minutes for you to shift your total attention back to your task and continue working’1
3. In an instant access and communications world, distractions can be tough to manage. Whatever you get distracted by – new ideas for a project, arranging a dog walker, research for a different project – write it down and address them once you have finished your current task.
4. Initiate a routine that works for you, and stick to it.
5. Don’t over-schedule. Realistically, you cannot work and be productive for 10-12 hours. Give yourself time between tasks and breaks.
6. Always schedule more time than you need, most things take a lot longer than you think.
7. If you have a huge project coming up that seems unmanageable, don’t sit there and dwell on it, break it down into small, manageable chunks.
8. Have monthly, weekly and daily lists and create them in that order. Don’t be afraid to change them as you go.
9. Block out time for tasks and during that time work on only that. Be guided by your plan/list so you don’t have to spend time contemplating what to do next.
10. Tick items off your list as you complete them. This activity helps with your feeling of success, accomplishment and it motivates you to keep going.
Managing your time is manageable. It’s simple when you know how. By looking after your workload, your diary and yourself, you will be able to look after yourself both physically and mentally and have a better work life balance.